John and his brother know what its like to loose their family home. Now they are out helping others whose fate is far worse than a council estate. John has just plumbed in a washing machine which will serve many families. Little things like this give hope. John was helped by a master builder and an economics student from Aleppo. He brought tools, van and kit for plumbing, wiring, heating from Wales with donations from locals including Cilgwyn Community. Next step is Serbia where conditions are heart-breaking. Donations via GoFundMe at facebook: West Wales for Refugees
On Sunday another group is out raising money for community settlement of refugees. The movement is taking off like a fire. Since June this year, one by one, five towns have set up teams to settle Syrian families at their own expense. The ‘Croeso’ teams (Croeso is the Welsh word for welcome) will provide homes, meet the family at the airport, provide English lessons, counselling and translation, seek jobs and training and explain everything. They will integrate them into the community.
Vegware pays the group’s membership of the charity which works with the home office allowing us to do community sponsorship.
Eliza is having chemo for a rare cancer with her family bolstering her recovery with a special diet and equipment funded by the community. The support they received from has broken all records – an incredible community effort raised £20,000 in a week while a rota of neighbours come to help in the home. Vegware fund was one of the first contributors. Her parents say it has transformed the nightmare, they feel carried instead of lost and broken. Eliza is happy as she has not been many months, and responding surprisingly well to all the treatment. She was in constant pain and cried ‘Nearly done? nearly done?’ when things were at their worst in August. Now she laughs, plays and jokes about her treatment and calls the tubes her wigglies. The tumour has shrunk back, but it’s a long journey ahead. Her strong positive spirit is on her side, a ‘beautiful fighter’ in a song written by a local musician.
Sue invited people to discuss a shady subject: Death – People told of deaths they have known, how they would like to spend their own last days or years, and how they would like to die and buried.
It was quite a shock to hear what poured out, from people who had never seen each other before and never normally talked about these things. A gacky cake with suitable beautiful decorations and dainty tea – supported by the vegware fund, helped create an exceptional experience.
The organiser hoped to set up a green burial site, only she had no idea until this tea that so many wanted it, and so soon.
Some of those at the tea had been told they had a few months to live.
Naeem has worked for three months, and on his day off he is visiting his only UK friends who are in Pembrokeshire, he is going to a party with an older couple who looked after him. He is 21, his father was killed, so he is the breadwinner for his mother and younger siblings. He says he would like to go out and have fun like other young people, before he gets too old. He works from 8am to 6pm then cooks, washes and sleeps. He is proud of what he is achieving and loves Wales.
Our community is working for community sponsored settlement in West Wales.
These Pemrokeshire children were shouting about education, not wanting to lose 6th forms. We are organising ideas festivals with young people to animate the way forward. Vegware money will help us work with Citizens UK for events to awaken people and also to settle refugees into our community.
Another fund-raiser concert for refugees. This one had an emergency, the organiser and cook fell ill so I had to find ingredients and a crew to cook for 70 at one day’s notice. We managed magnificently, everyone piled into my kitchen and made an Eastern meal with multiple dishes, and plenty of it. First time of working together, the new crew really enjoyed the rush, and the results. Vegware paid for transport.
Last weekend cilgwyn again extended our paradise to asylum seekers waiting for their cases to be decided in Swansea. They were brought up by our refugee organisation Hiraeth Hope and had a day by the sea followed by an evening of music and food in the hall. Hundreds attended the evening event raising money towards these respite weekends.
Cilgwyn has been concerned at the loss of health services in our county with the hospital losing wards and staff. This has caused mayhem in the community. We went to Cardiff along with hundreds of our neighbours, and spoke to the crowds (photo). We also organised a conference with speakers from the Save Lewisham Hospital campaign, and are organising training in the summer on how to influence government bods, as standing in a crowd is just not enough!
This winter we are very busy doing whatever we can to help refugees. We started by inviting (and funding) a group of 22 asylum seekers to visit our community for a weekend. We had workshops and talks, an evening of food and music, and also – at the request of some of the asylum seekers – football! The asylum seekers stayed with individual families in Cilgwyn and connections began to be made.